Daily Prompt 7/5/2016 | Layers

My layers make me who I am, and I am pretty damn awesome.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 7/5/2016 | Layers]

“We live beneath many layers. Some are for our protection, and some are for our control.” ~ Russell Eric Dobda Continue reading “Daily Prompt 7/5/2016 | Layers”

Daily Prompt 6/18/2016 | Perfection

Remember, perfection isn’t perfect, it is fake.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/18/2016 | Perfection]

No one is perfect. No one. Of course, no matter how often we tell ourselves this, it can be difficult to convince our brains that it is true when we pass by magazines in the stores and see women with flawless skin, shiny hair, zero cellulite, tight stomachs, perky butts… you get the idea. I’m guilty of tearing myself down every time I go out in public, and see pictures and videos of these perfect, beautiful women, that I could never look like. Well, the truth is, no one can look like them, not even themselves.

Photoshop, endless filter options, and apps like Facetune make it all too easy to alter pictures, whether you are just trying to erase a few pimples, or giving yourself thousands of dollars worth of digital plastic surgery, and it is just not fair. It is not fair to the men and women whose appearances have to be altered so much, just to be considered beautiful, and worthy of publication, when they were already beautiful. It is also not fair to the men and women who see these ads, and get tricked into thinking that that type of beauty is attainable, and that they need to spend their money to try and reach it.

You don’t believe me? Here are just a few examples:


It is all a lie. Models, singers, actors and actresses, reality TV stars… no one is ever thin enough, but if you are thin, you’re not curvy enough. Your skin is never clear enough. Your hair is never blonde enough. Your eyes are not blue enough. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. Men and women, young and old, are being told that nothing about themselves is good enough, and that they need to buy all of this STUFF to look good, but it is an impossible feat. Even these people, who were deemed worthy enough to grace the covers of magazines, and star in commercials, were not perfect enough. No one is perfect enough. No one.

I know I might be beating a dead horse here, and being a total hypocrite, but really, we need to stop focusing so much on how we look. Your eyebrows do not need to be on fleek, your winged liner does not need to survive a nuclear holocaust, and if you don’t have a thigh gap, then embrace your glorious thighs. If you’re 14, you’re told that you need to look 21, and if you’re 30, you’re told you need to look 22. It isn’t fair, and it just isn’t possible. You don’t need big boobs, you don’t need a huge ass, and you don’t need washboard abs. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to better yourself, or lift your self-esteem a bit, but do it for you, and not because you think it is how others want you too look. You are worth more than that. Love who you are, and others will love you as well.

Remember, perfection isn’t perfect, it is fake.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Try, Try Again

Hello, friends. Yesterday, I found myself looking at my reflection, and feeling disappointed. My face has gotten rounder, my skin seems duller, and I just look… unhealthy. All those new clothes that I bought in celebration of losing 25 pounds barely fit me now, and I hate it. Despite all of the hard work I put into my diet and exercise at the end of last year, I find myself feeling like an absolute failure these days after falling off the wagon several months ago, and being unable to commit to diet and exercise again. I want to fix that. I want to fix me.

I think the biggest reason my last diet, although quite successful, failed after just 3 months, was because switched from a diet consisting of pizza, fast food, and carbs, to a “vegan” diet, on top of counting calories, very suddenly. I was eating less than 1,200 calories a day, and working out every other day, and it was just too big of a change, much too fast, and it drove me insane. I lost 27 pounds in less than 3 months, and felt better than I had in YEARS, but when I crashed, I crashed HARD. As much as I love him, I blame my carnivorous partner for about half of my crashing and burning. For always bringing home pizza, snacks, and wanting to eat out. For always telling me that cheat days were okay, even though I had already had 2 or 3 that week, and it was only Wednesday. For completely neglecting his own health, and being unwilling to work with me on making our entire household healthier. It was so hard to focus on eating right when I was surrounded by my favorite, terrible things, that I had been starving myself from. I needed his support, and he wasn’t willing to set aside his live of food to help me.

So, I failed.

I’ve managed to stay around my pre-pregnancy weight (give or take a few pounds, as my weight fluctuates pretty crazily), which is a tiny victory for me… but I miss feeling healthy. I miss daily walks, and Zumba three times a week. I miss having soft hair and glowing skin. I miss having energy. I miss buying clothes in sizes that I haven’t fit into in 8 years. I miss feeling proud of myself.

I’ve decided that I’m going to go back on my no meat/no dairy diet (it’s not full vegan, I still eat eggs, sorry), only this time, I won’t be counting calories. Giving up meat and dairy wasn’t all that bad, and wasn’t nearly as difficult as weighing, measuring, and logging every single thing that I ate. It was exhausting. Not allowing myself to stray off of my calorie count even a little, without being filled with guilt self-hatred, was awful. I was healthier than I had been since high school, and would still hate myself for eating a cookie. That just isn’t healthy, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Now that the weather is warming up, I’m going to invest in a new pair of sneakers, and a few pairs of loose shorts. I’m going to try to get outside more, and spend more time at the park with my son. I’m going to cook more, and research fun, new ways to incorporate more vegan-friendly foods into my diet so that I don’t end up eating beans and rice, or salad, every day.

I want to be healthy, physically and mentally. I can do this!

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”

In June of 2008, I graduated high school. In the months prior to my graduation, I struggled with deciding where I wanted to go to college. My mom was the only person who ever went to college in my family, and she only went to the local community college, and I felt like that just wasn’t an option for me (no offense at all to anyone who went to community college, I was an ignorant child who thought community college was below me, but now I would be thrilled to be able to attend classes as our local community college). I had had four years of extra help, tutoring, advanced classes, and college tours, thanks to the Upward Bound program, but I still struggled. I think, deep down, I felt like I didn’t belong in the area that I grew up in. I had applied to many good schools in the area, and had gotten accepted into all of them, but I wanted something more.

During this time, I was dating a great guy named Matt, who I wrote about a bit here. Matt lived in Missouri, I lived in Maine, and we had met online. Matt was determined to go to school in Canada, so we applied to the same schools, and I ended up getting accepted to the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Grenfell Campus. After springing this information on my mother, and packing my life up, I left for Canada, leaving everything behind, and changing my life entirely.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if Matt and I had stayed in a long distance relationship, or even went our separate ways, and I attended one of the several universities in Maine that I had been accepted into? Let’s talk about The University of Maine Farmington, for example. This is an excellent school, as well as my top choice school that I applied to, for local schools. Many of my friends from Upward Bound applied, and ended up attending this school. If I had chose to go to UMF, I would have qualified for so much more in financial aide, as well as scholarships, and probably would have been able to stay in school. I would have had more opportunity to make more friends, and become closer to the friends that I knew who went there. I have two good friends that I met in Upward Bound, Barbara and Kat, who both attended UMF, and who I have grown closer to in the last couple years, despite our distance. I would have loved to go to school with them. I would love to have friends that know me, and know where I came from, who I can talk to, face-to-face, and have a good time with. In the 8 years since I left home, I haven’t had that. At all. And it is so lonely.

I love my fiance, and I love my son, and I love our life that we have built… but all of these What If? questions tug at me daily. What if I had stayed in Maine, went to UMF, and had gotten my degree? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be single? Would I have any kids? Would I have a cat or a dog? Would I have started my career? Would I have a house? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

Heck, maybe on the day I would have left to go to UMF, I would have crashed, and died, and none of those questions would even matter. Who knows? What I do know, is that I love my life currently, despite financial difficulties, or family drama. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

This prompt has inspired me to reach out to my old university, to see how much I owe them for tuition, and what my payment options are. I can’t afford to pay anything now, but it will be nice to have a number in my head to work toward.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/11/2016 | Under My Skin

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/11/2016 | Quirk of Habit

“Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.”

Strangely enough, peoples’ various quirks don’t bother me all that much. There are a few things that I would prefer that people refrain from doing around me, but nothing too crazy. I’ve seen people get physically angry at someone smacking their gum, or clicking a pen, or constantly clearing phlegm from their throats (okay, that one is pretty gross though…), but I’m just not one of those people. I’m not perfect, and I know I probably do things that might annoy other peoples, and I’m okay with that.

I do enjoy when people are kind, and do nice things for others, without being given orders to do so. I greatly admire people in the medical community, specifically doctors and nurses, who give up sleep, sanity, and often times family, to help others. I admire volunteers, whether it be once a month at a food kitchen, or every day at an animal shelter. People who sacrifice a little bit from their lives to improve the lives of others. Those people are just wonderful.

So, habits don’t bother me, but I guess you could say certain personalities do. Even certain, tiny aspects of peoples’ personalities. Is that a habit? I actually don’t know. Let me just give you a few examples of things that do get to me, and be warned, this is going to get a bit ranty, and may likely offend someone.

1) When teenage girls refer to a grown man, who is a complete stranger, as “daddy” on the internet, and says things like “fuck me“. I specifically see this on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, directed at YouTubers, or musicians, etc., and it is SO creepy. Now, I’m no prude, and I’m definitely not going to judge grown men and women who call their partners “mommy” or “daddy“, or any variation of the two, in the bedroom, because that is none of my business. But when a 12-year old girl comments on a 29-year old YouTuber’s Instagram selfie with “OMG daddy fuck me“, I get concerned. Where the hell are the parents? Who is teaching them this? Ugh. That really gets to me. It is just so unhealthy.

Related irks: People who obsessively “ship” two real people, young teenagers writing VERY smutty fanfiction, stalkers.

2) People who blatantly fish for compliments. I’ll be the first to admit that I have low self-esteem, and I know there are many out there who feel the same way about themselves. Recently, on Facebook, a friend of a friend shared an image of a piece of paper that simple said “Share this if your ugly!“. Grammatical error aside, things like this piss me off, because this is 110% for attention. The ONLY reason to post something like this is to get responses like, “Aww, no, you’re beautiful!” but this is the wrong way to do it, and it just irks people, and makes you look insane. The kicker in this situation was that the girl was GORGEOUS, and upon further snooping, I discovered that she is actually a MODEL. Are you joking? No. Just stop.

3) People who constantly butt into other peoples’ issues and problems. As many of you know, we recently had to deal with some stupid, family drama surrounding the Dodge Journey that we received from Kyle’s aunt. Well, as of last night, we got a new car (that gorgeous Lincoln LS), and Kyle’s mom took the Journey off our hands to use as a second vehicle. But just a few days prior, our drama reached a boiling point, when Kyle’s grandmother poked her nose into a matter that did not concern her, and tried to play middle woman, but ended up twisting everything that Kyle said, passing along false information (lies), and ultimately made the whole situation 10000% worse. In the end, Kyle ended up blocking his grandmother, and both of his aunts, and we most likely won’t be attending Christmas this year. Ugh. If a problem has nothing to do with you, then leave it alone. If it is not directly affecting your life, then butt out, and let the other parties sort it out.

And now… the big one. I’ll apologize ahead of time. Sorry.

4) I’m not religious, but I am also not disrespectful towards people tho choose to believe in what they believe in, as long as they are not forcing those beliefs on others in order to control them and their lives. We’re all living on this planet together, and life is too short to hate on someone for believing in something different. With that being said, one of the things that bothers me more than ANYTHING else, is people who use the Bible to justify their hatred of something, i.e. homosexuality, but cherry-pick through the rest of the sins, simply because they want to do them. You all know what I’m talking about. Saying that you hate homosexuality because it is an abomination, because the Bible says so, but being guilty of ANY of the following, makes you a hypocrite:

Divorce/Adultery.
Love of money.
Any of the following dietary abominations: eating shellfish, eating many kinds of birds, eating anything that has many legs, or stands on four legs, and eating and touching PORK!
A woman wearing PANTS.
LYING, guys. That’s a big one!
Arrogance.
Blatantly ignoring the law.
Wearing mixed fabrics.

Getting a HAIRCUT, or shaving your beard.

So, if you’ve done any of those things, which I know you have, guess what? Those are all considered just as sinful as homosexuality. Those are abominations, according to the book that you quote from, to prevent two people who love each other from getting married, or living happily. You can’t pick and choose what things to be an asshole about, just because you like to eat shrimp, and think that two men kissing is icky, or unnatural. Guess what? There are over 1,500 species of animals that display homosexual behavior, and many of these species are older than the human race. You can’t get any more natural than nature, folks. So, I’m sorry, but that just isn’t how it works.

Now, if I remember anything from my time in the Brownies, I seem to recall that the original book was written with no punctuation, and was completely open to interpretation, and has changed so many times throughout the years, to fit the specific beliefs of whomever was interpreting it. If this is correct, then couldn’t it be possible that many of these things, as well as homosexuality, were not originally meant to be labelled as abominations, but the words were misinterpreted as such? Just something to consider.

As I said before, I personally don’t believe in any of this. I lead a life free of religion. I do believe that, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, or infringing on someone’s legal and human rights, then everyone deserves to be happy. But you need to understand that there are so many religions that are practiced on this earth, and not everyone believes in yours, and they all have different rules, which are open to interpretation, and we are all live vastly different lives, and just accept that. Stop thinking that just because someone chooses to believe differently, or acknowledge different things, that you and your beliefs are being threatened. Relax, folks. I do apologize if this offended anyone, but if it did, then maybe you have some things you need to think about?

Anyway, I’m done. Those are some of the big ones for me. I’m not trying to start a debate in the comments, or attack anyone’s beliefs, I’m just trying to tell you things how I see and interpret them.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/2/2016 | Surely Not the Best Colors That You Shine

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/2/2015 | This Is Your Song

“Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.”

Crossfade ~ Colors

This song has stuck with me since 2004, when I first heard it as a freshman in high school. I loved most of my teenage life, as well as a good chunk of my young adult life, letting people tellme who I should be. How I should dress, what makeup to wear, who to talk to, what I could and couldn’t do to, because they wanted me to fit into this perfect, little bubble of who they wanted me to be. For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I really came into my own towards the end of my high school days, and was finally able to be who I felt I was supposed to be.

Later on, after I graduated high school, I got into a relationship with a great guy, but always felt like I was living in his shadow. I even went to the college that he wanted to go to, and my life became completely dependent on him. I didn’t really have friends, and people only seemed to know me as “Matt’s girlfriend”. I resented that, wanting only to be able to be myself, and to be accepted for that. We ended up breaking up.

After that, I started a relationship with the person who had been my best friend for years. And it ended badly. He, and his family, were very controlling, manipulative, people. I felt like the insecure, high school girl that I once was, not allowed to be who I was, and having to choose my words carefully to keep the judgement at bay. He controlled every aspect of my life, and I had to rely on him for everything. I became more and more depressed, resorting to self-mutilation just to feel anything, something that I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. I was stuck in a dark face, but was forced to plaster on a smile, because no one wanted to “deal with” me. Our relationship became very emotionally abusive towards the end, and his own insecurities, brought on by his family, drove us as far apart as humanly possible while still living together. We broke up, and I had to completely start over, stranded in an unfamiliar town, surrounded by people and places that reminded me of him, his emotional abuse, and his controlling, cruel family.

Then, I met Kyle. Kyle showed me that it was okay to be who I was, even if that meant being different than those around you. Because your colors will never shine as bright if you are trying to cover them with clouds. I am so much stronger, and I shine so much brighter now.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan